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Eulogy for a Republican

My pal John passed away this weekend. He succumbed to cancer after a 3-pack-a-day habit. He'd been an army officer, insurance agent and counter clerk at the West Side post office. It was in the latter incarnation that I knew John, but at one time he used to live in the same condo complex as I, and therein lies a tale I'd like to relate. One of John's coworkers told me about his memorial service, and teared up remembering the bagpipes. I asked if nice things had been spoken about John. She told me with John there had only been good. I asked like what, considering to many customers John could be very surly. Immediately she replied there was nothing he wouldn't do for anyone. I'll come back to that one in a mo. Otherwise she remembered fondly John's wicked sense of humor and his co-workers chimed in about his mastery of rubber band war. As an example of the former, John delighted in applying hand lotion to door knobs and critical postal utensils and then leave his coworkers to the consequences. The only cross words I ever received from John happened when news reached him of my antiwar activities. He told me that during the Vietnam War, protesters had spit on returning soldiers. Had anyone done that to him, he would have decked them, is what he felt the need to tell me. I didn't complicate his account by pointing out that the infamous spitting event had been contrived to smear the antiwar movement. Not one soldier nor any protester has ever come forth to claim they witnessed the much derided event. But I did have a bone to pick with John, but never took the chance. He was on vacation when I stormed into the post office to give him what for, and afterwards I reconciled myself to his opposite political view. It was the eve of the last election, the week before actually, when John through despicable dishonesty put a big wrench in State Representative Mike Merrifield's reelection campaign. Retired high school music teacher Mike Merrifield lived in our condo community, and owing to the disparate political orientations of the units' multiple owners, a consensus had to be reached about what to do about election yard signs. It was not enough to agree that inhabitants could post whatever signs they wanted outside their abodes, what about those with units deeper in the complex with no exposure to passing traffic? At first the sign posting was a free-for-all, with Republican signs adjacent those of Democrats, whomever's sign was let be. But soon signs were being replaced by their opponent's. I knew something was up when fresh lawn signs kept winding up in the dumpster. Finally the homeowners had to reach an agreement. Everybody was opinionated, but only Merrifield was a candidate, and he didn't have frontage real estate. If the neighbors around the edges couldn't see themselves permitting any Democratic Party signs without wearing Merrifield down by surreptitiously removing his,

There is no new medical advance against AIDS

The for-profit medical system is always full of self praising propaganda that the media machine feeds to the public at large. See! Profits are being made and great advances in medicine are being made, is their constant refrain. It's just not true though, and AIDS is just one of many diseases that continue to expand their world scope, just as Cancer does. Did you think that these diseases were being conquered? Under the influence of the pharmaceutical profit makers, the world continues to throw barrels of pills at the problem, and to do little else to stop the spread of this disease. We are told that this is a successful strategy, too! But here's the reality, that TB and AIDS have now tied themselves together and all the pill throwing in the world will not help without a world scale public health campaign to guarantee that people live in sanitary conditions, and not in cesspools that breed these 2 diseases together. Can you see how the capitalist system might have a problem in dealing with this problem now? Cesspool living conditions and capitalism are like America and apple pie. They just come as a package. Some people get rich, and others are forced to live in cesspools, where TB and AIDS can grow into epidemic proportions. I suggest that they make their big barrier immigration walls as high as the sky to keep this stuff from migrating. There is no new medical advance against AIDS, just the same old failed strategies that have given fuel to the epidemic. There is a better way.

Your dad is going to die of cancer

It's just been reported that the children of soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan are more likely to suffer child abuse. Is this finding not terrible enough for their parents to take heed and refuse to to be ordered there?   All soldiers going to Iraq and Afghanistan doom themselves to exposure to Depleted Uranium. Does it give anyone pause that they are dooming themselves and their families to certain ill-health? They're not making a selfless sacrifice, they're sacrificing their kids. By the VA's own report, over 11,600 Gulf War vets have died since 1991. A third of the soldiers involved in that 100 hour engagement are now on disability. The health problems have been called Gulf War Syndrome because the military won't admit responsibility, like it long denied the effects of Agent Orange in Vietnam. But doctors are now certain the many common symptoms are due to DU. Already we are seeing birth defects from Iraq War veterans. Of course the media is not addressing the problem, but why aren't soldiers figuring out the cause and effect for themselves? Do they still think the Department of Defense is looking out for them? After the Walter Reed scandals? After the failures to deal with PTSD? Remember an unusual report early in the Iraq occupation when Dutch troops were to replace a US Marines encampment? The Dutch commanders instantly forbade their soldiers to inhabit the American barracks due to DU contamination. They deemed it better to bivouac outside the camp, exposed to attack outside the fortifications, than to suffer the certain DU exposure about which the American soldiers had been told nothing. I have an idea of how to bring this message home to our soldiers. It involves the soldiers' families because they are already impacted negatively, and stand to bear the brunt of losing their father or mother, of having to cope with a bitter, violent veteran, or having to care for the eventually terminally ill invalid. Here's my plan: I live in a neighborhood that houses the families of officers posted to Fort Carson. Usually they're newcomers, usually just the families, the fathers being away in Iraq. Kids know these families from talking amongst each other at school. The next time this or that house is pointed out to me, I'm going to tell the kids to be nice to those children because their father is dying of cancer. Never mind succumbing to IEDs, or to mental illness, the veteran will more likely than not, die a slow death of cancer or leukemia or whatever mysterious debilitating fate, owing to the DU he inhaled over there. Imagine the talk at the school reaching the soldier's children. They'd bring their fears home. It's a heartless rumor to spread to kids, but maybe their alarm could prompt an awakening and ultimately save their dad's life. This subversive message can be directed toward soldiers at other opportunities. Be it a panhandler with PTSD, or a proud veteran in a parade, treat them both with a sincere gentleness because of

The Good Samaritan in few of us

I sat in the church pew absolutely shocked to be reminded how many times the word peace is mentioned at mass. I was struck mainly to think that American church-goers pay lip service to this word every weekend, year by year at war, and yet our military aggression persists without congregations raising their voices to protest. What kind of peace are they praying for? You know it of course, for peace at the barrel of a gun. These churchgoers also listen every week to readings and homilies about religious virtues. What context is piety given in the midst of deliberate war and economic predation? Last Sunday I was treated to the parable of the good Samaritan. Probably you know it, Jesus' answer to how we should treat our neighbor. Jesus told of a man fallen victim to brigands, left for dead at the side of the road. A priest passed unmoved, so too a fellow Jew, crossing to the other side to avoid the man in need. Finally the Samaritan, an ethnic origin unchosen by God and held in general suspicion and disdain, interrupted his journey and the rest is history, well biblical history. The Samaritans might have been dog-fighting Nazi bastards every last one, until Jesus immortalized the hypothetical actions of one and now Samaritan is synonymous with good. Today we hear the story about the traveller in need and think it's a no brainer. We liken ourselves to natural Samaritans and can all but visualize our fellow parishioners lining up to help as readily as we queue for communion. But would that be true? Why were the original passersby so reluctant to help? I wondered if our priest sermonizing on the moral was prepared to explain his ancient colleague's un-priestly callousness. Perhaps the priest and the other unhelpful fellow formed a particular opinion about the denuded victim. Maybe he was thought to have been damn foolish or careless to have fallen victim to the bandits. What good does it do to help a person who doesn't have sense enough to help himself? Give him money and it will likely flow directly to the next bandits on the trail. Perhaps that's what the passersby were thinking. The Samaritan knew better, he knew that true compassion shows itself toward your enemy. Compassion toward your brother or compatriot is just teamsmanship. Real compassion is finding sympathy for someone unlike you out of kinship for all beings. It's certainly time to update the parable. How likely is it for any of us today to encounter a denuded mugging victim? Of course we'd be on board, but we're never tested. What if, however, the victim is a welfare recipient beaten down by the system? Or a fat person on food stamps duped out of an understanding of health and self-preservation by predatory capitalism? What about a drunken derelict whose self-destructiveness is owed to some demon and now he's likely to medicate himself to death and even rob you of more than your assistance to do it? What

Private insurance leads to less security, not more

If you are like most of us, you hate the insurance racket. It is like a giant cancer that is thoroughly capitalist in nature, yet is so destructive that it actually undermines and erodes the entire structure of the economic system that lets it proliferate. Everywhere, privatized insurance is eating away at any government social nets that have been established. It feeds on government social programs like a shark feeds on smaller fish. Do you feel secure with the insurance companies ripping into your wallets on a monthly basis? I bet not. Most of what we pay for is so thoroughly hole ridden as to make our policies next to worthless. Lawyers and insurance companies go together, with insurance employed lawyers constantly creating bigger gaps in coverage that might make these companies have to pay out some small fraction of what they take in. This symbiotic relationship between these 2 groups is why we hate the corporate lawyers so much, yet find these crooks growing in number and influence by the second. Conservative, venal, vicious, arrogant, ignorant, and servile, these corporate lawyers fueled by insurance often fall later in their careers into government office, where they corrupt the government down into the sewer, too, alongside themselves and the insurance companies. Wikipedia lists some interesting facts about the global insurance rip off. For example, that global insurance premiums have increased by more than 1/2 in just the last decade alone. Plus, that Japan and the US account for 1/2 of the insurance premiums paid in the world, though together our 2 countries only have 5% of world population! Do you feel all that secure now? Or less? We have the worst medical system in the industrialized world and it's the one disrupted the most by the insurance business. So if insurance is supposed to deliver security, it fails miserably to do so. Instead, the insurance business destroys overall social security, as it rips to shreds government and even religion based services to the community. That hospital might have a Catholic cross and pictures of nuns everywhere, but in truth, it is insurance agents running your medical care, not some benign (or not so benign) church. Consider this too, that the $3.3 trillion global insurance business is quite connected to the directly financial sector, which is connected to those who would destroy government run social security everywhere, and replace it with private pension plans full of holes throughout. Private pensions, in fact, are nothing more than insurance plans for covering what will not exist anymore if the government run systems of caring for the elderly and infirm get totally closed down, as the super rich are constantly working to do. Don't mistake those hard working clerks everywhere in insurance selling offices for the crooks making the money, personally hidden away from your view.

Good golly, Miss Molly

Miss Molly being my favorite Outspoken Strong Irishwoman. Except for my mom, of course...   Molly Ivins is hospitalized this weekend with her ongoing battle with breast cancer. Join me in wishing her well, yes? And if you aren't absolutely opposed to the notion of Prayer, join with me in praying for her as well. She is expected to come home from the hospital on Monday, according to her personal assistant.

Gas goes below $2

This is insane! We are in a global war to secure energy supplies under US control, and all is justified with a mountain of lies. Meanwhile, the price of oil sinks below $2 a gallon! How delusional is all of this? The US corporate world is completely unable to deal rationally with any social or environmental problems. The same as with energy, so goes our health care. Diseases are exploding forth, more and more with total resistance to antibiotic treatment. And the leading caste of America cannot even arrange minimal coverage for the population! One factor in the proliferation of these resistant diseases is global warming's effect on the overall environment, and that is in turn caused by the overburning of fossil fuels. We need conservation and not deadly wars to try to temporarily keep gas below $2 for Americans when its real worth is far, far higher. It's the healthy thing to do, anyway you look at it to conserve the use of gas. Healthy for the environment, and healthy for your own personal health and that of your family. This has got to be the most delusional epoch in the history of mankind. Our energy companies should be nationalized and removed from influencing further the absurd political life of our nation. Yes, and a few of those energy executives already deserve to hang for what they have done to America and the world. Pretending that we do not have an energy crisis when in fact we do, is has set us back from dealing with a crisis that can kill us all quite shortly down the road. If we don't run out of the oil to keep the world economy moving, the bacteria will get us as they thrive in our overheated world minus much of its ozone. Many of the indigenous tribes predicted that such poor stewards of nature would eventually destroy themselves, even as they themselves got slaughtered off. It appears to be coming to pass as tribal elders once claimed it would, Capitalism has become exactly like a societal cancer that is now being fed on gas at $2 a gallon. Don't celebrate this price. Cry.

Where to host the war crimes trials

NotMyTribe is soliciting proposals for where to hold the impending War Crimes Trial. Brent Green replies:   In my van downtown. This is kind of how I see it going: I'll drive my van downtown- there's a huge parking lot right on the bank of the river behind the UPS packing center. It's unmarked, which I see as my biggest asset here, the secrecy of an unmarked van will keep these officials on familiar ground. I'll hold out my dictionary (the only title the used bookstore wouldn't purchase from me) and say "Place your right hand on this Science Bible, and promise that you'll try hard not to fuck up." W says "I swear." I don't believe him, he seems insincere, but I didn't really give myself a backup option, so we move on. I guess Bush will take the stand- a comfortable cloth spinning captain's chair (one of Bush's demands I'll have to meet in order for him to submit to trial). I'll grill him mercilessly. "True or False: you are _______." The correct answer is that tricky T/F hybrid that everyone mastered in elementary school quizzes, but that's a very hard letter to say, so he'll probably get this one wrong. Whereupon I'll make a powerful and moving objection "HEADS WILL ROLL!!!" I'll shout, the wind shaking my ride. We'll turn on the radio for intermission. Some Mexican college rock station. Yo la tengo espanol. And if you want experience and variety, this is your location. It's seen it all. I got it from my Uncle Oscar who met Jack Kerouac once (not in the van)- it's seen all there is: Illinois, DUI, DOA, FBI, Florida and a charging wild elk. Before Oscar raced dogs he used the van as an ambulance. I pretended I was a lawyer once, to get my girlfriend a paycheck her boss was trying to keep for hisself. Back when Great Uncle Oscar had the van it was always kept in tip-top shape. Uncle Oscar was rich. He was always saying "Get in the fucking van!!" Uncle Oscar got more money than the government racing dogs between the cars on Wall Street. Uncle Oscar lost his mind when his mistress died, and grew a cancerous hole the size some governments between his throat and his lungs. Wheezing like an elephant chasing dogs no one else could see up and down the cellar stairs. (Later, up, down and back up the street.) Uncle Oscar's legs went numb on Christmas Eve, a cart pulled by his dogs brought him to our front door (he was sitting on the hood, hollering whiskey fumes above the engine's roar). With two strong hands and a trunk full of stuff he invited us "Come on In!" tramping snow through shoveled flowerbeds. He wasn't yet, but he already looked dead. After a long hard chase, Oscar liked to climb in his van and "help people." He'd go ambulancing with a stethoscope and pliers and a bottle of

Mothra vs Nopalzilla, Taco Bell, GM food, and bioengineering

Two articles today in the news got me thinking about genetically modified food and bioengineering again. In short, I think we have Ag gone mad, medicine gone mad, and Hey!, we just plain got Science gone mad! What drove HighTech crazy? Unfortunately it is the same thing that is driving all of us crazy, the constant insane drive by our ruling class to find new ways to profit and to max all profits out, and to speedup profit making all for themselves. In short, their greed is doing us all in. Let's look at the story of Mothra vs Nopalzilla first, to see what got me into a tizzy on this one. It would be comical, except it's really not. As we can see, the moth that came to threaten Mexico got its start 90 years ago by an attempt of 'scientists' to 'bioengineer' in Australia. Some 125 years previously, settlers in Australia had imported a dye producing bug to help color their uniforms red. How important was that! They then imported cactus nopales to feed this bug with the red dye inside. But the nopales ran amuck in Australia like the poisonous cane toads later did, and wrecked havock on the natural habitat. That's when the genius scientists stepped in with the moth that they took from Argentina to kill the nopales. Great success! But this moth then made its way from Australia to Florida and started heading south towards Mexico, where 1/2 of all the world's many species of nopal lives. Stopped in Alabama, the moth decided to hit the Isla of Mujeres offshore in southern Mexico, where now it may be blown a few miles to mainland Mexico in a few days, and then go on to destroy the nopal plants that just happen to hold down much of the soil of Mexico! In short, bioengineering scientists can later be proven that they have been about as adept as the Three Stooges. So speaking of the Stooges, we have Taco Bell and Monsanto genetically modifying corn. But these stooges forgot the scallions it seems. E-coli, served at Taco Bell in the scallions has been killing and injuring folk now in several Eastern States, and Taco Bell and US health officials initially blamed Mexican produce for that. But just today, the actual culprit had been tracked down to California once again, where just a few weeks previous the Spinach had been killing folk that had bought those nice packaged, clean looking bagged specimens we are all tempted to buy while grocery shopping. Should we really trust people like Taco Bell with the GM corn, when they can't even get the regular old onions right? I rather think not. Plus, we have the example of Mothra and Nopalzilla, too, to also

PFOA & Mermaids’ Tears

All the talk nowadays is about the threat that terrorism supposedly has on National Security. But reality is that Americans are more likely to be taken down by cancer or heart disease instead. Perhaps, companies like Dupont and 3M actualy pose much greater threats to our personal security than does al quaeda? Cheney would disagree, I am sure, but the evidence is not on his side. Dupont, especially, is a company that has been engaged most recently in a tobacco industry style campaign of disinformation and cover-up about the dangers of PFOA, an artificial substance that has accumulated in 95% of us Americans. It's produced by Dupont (and was also by 3M previously) for use in making fabrics and non-stick cookware, amongst other items. We're talking Teflon and GorTex now. This is big moneymaker for Dupont, and they have been just a s stubborn about the reality that it causes cancer as Exxon-Mobil has been about denying that global warming is a world threat. The headlines this week get yet worse about capitalist driven, factory production's effects on life here on earth. It appears, too, that microscopic pieces of plastic are in ocean water in greater and greater concentrations and in the life forms that live in salt water, too. These are called mermaids' tears. See the BBC article, Plastics Poisoning World's Seas. Humans are filling up with PFOA, and sea life is collecting just plain old plastics in their bodies. Oh, along with mercury and numberous otehr toxins. I guess polar bears get it all, since they are finding PFOA in them, plus they also eat the fish filled with mermaids' tears besides. Lesson. Don't eat polar bear! Both articles I linked to illustrate that capitalism does not self-regulate its production. To the contrary, capitalist enterprises deliberately produce harmful products that destroy the environment and destroy your health. The corporate management attitude is simply that if the product does not knock you over seconds after it you consumed it, then who cares about the longer term consequences? That can be hidden away from public view forever, or at least for centuries, oops but maybe only decades. But it can be hidden for the longest time, and by then, the consequences to public health have become enormous. There simply is no effective observation of the dangers that these 'free enterprises' routinely put us in. It is if the meth lab next door was subject to no observation, no requirements to cease production, and the operators of it were also to be held in the highest public esteem even as they were cooking up a poisonous vapor for all the neighborhood. In fact, the neighborhood I lived in last before moving here, had both meth labs in the neighborhood, and a film production facility that

Industrial Society and Its Future

Unabomber Ted Kaczynski on how to get published (paragraph 96):   "If we had never done anything violent and had submitted the present writings to a publisher, they probably would not have been accepted. ... In order to get our message before the public with some chance of making a lasting impression, we've had to kill people." On technology delivering mankind from menial labor: "It has been suggested, for example, that a great development of the service industries might provide work for human beings. Thus people will spend their time shining each others shoes, driving each other around in taxicabs, making handicrafts for one another, waiting on each other's tables, etc. " (para. 176) On genetic engineering: "If you think that big government interferes in your life too much now, just wait till the government starts regulating the genetic constitution of your children. Such regulation will inevitably follow the introduction of genetic engineering of human beings, because the consequences of unregulated genetic engineering would be disastrous. ... Just think—an irresponsible genetic engineer might create a lot of terrorists." (para. 123, note 19) For archival purposes, here is the 1995 "UNABOMBER MANIFESTO." Industrial Society and Its Future Introduction 1. The Industrial Revolution and its consequences have been a disaster for the human race. They have greatly increased the life-expectancy of those of us who live in "advanced" countries, but they have destabilized society, have made life unfulfilling, have subjected human beings to indignities, have led to widespread psychological suffering (in the Third World to physical suffering as well) and have inflicted severe damage on the natural world. The continued development of technology will worsen the situation. It will certainly subject human beings to greater indignities and inflict greater damage on the natural world, it will probably lead to greater social disruption and psychological suffering, and it may lead to increased physical suffering—even in "advanced" countries. 2. The industrial-technological system may survive or it may break down. If it survives, it may eventually achieve a low level of physical and psychological suffering, but only after passing through a long and very painful period of adjustment and only at the cost of permanently reducing human beings and many other living organisms to engineered products and mere cogs in the social machine. Furthermore, if the system survives, the consequences will be inevitable: there is no way of reforming or modifying the system so as to prevent it from depriving people of dignity and autonomy. 3. If the system breaks down the consequences will still be very painful. But the bigger the system grows the more disastrous the results of its breakdown will be, so if it is to break down it had best break down sooner rather than later. 4. We therefore advocate a revolution against the industrial system. This revolution may or may not make use of violence: it may be sudden or it may be a relatively gradual process spanning a few decades. We can't predict any of that. But we do outline in a very general way the measures that those who hate

Newborn Hope and Faded Beauty

On Thursday and Friday I, along with 1600 of my closest friends, dolled up and went to the Broadmoor International Center to attend the annual Newborn Hope luncheon and fashion show. This is a spectacular event, something that we look forward to all year. Filet mignon, chocolate mousse and champagne are culinary staples. Beautiful models from Denver, both male and female, entertain us. We have a silent auction (Botox, rounds of golf, ski jackets, jewelry), we sell table decorations and Christmas ornaments, we have a balloon raffle. We have fun. We raise money. I have been involved with Newborn Hope for more than a decade. I have co-chaired the event, co-chaired the Advisory Council, been a member of the Corporate Board. Newborn Hope is about prematurity prevention and maternal/neonatal healthcare. I could go on and on about my passion for our mission and for the organization, but I think I'll save that for another time. What I want to talk about are the women who are Newborn Hope. Shortly after I became involved with the organization, I discovered that I was pregnant with twins. I had had 4 easy pregnancies in the past so this discovery did not deter me from my normal behavior in the slightest. At 26 weeks (normal gestation is 40 weeks) I went to my doctor for a routine check up. Ironically, she informed me that I was in pre-term labor and that I needed to walk across the parking lot and check myself into the hospital. The long and short of it is that I ended up enduring 10 weeks of strict bedrest. I had 4 young children at home but was told that I was allowed to get up only once every 2 hours to go to the bathroom. Yeah, right. Puh-lease. My Newborn Hope friends, none of whom I knew well at the time, heard of my plight and knew how important, and how impossible, compliance was. In order to help me and my little preborns, they arranged for a different committee member to deliver a meal to my home, enough to feed the 6 of us, every night for 10 weeks. A woman I hardly knew called me and said, politely but firmly, "I will be in your driveway every morning at 7:45 to take your kids to school. Please have them watch for me." Another woman drove my little David to preschool three times per week, a thirty minute round trip. Twice during my confinement, 20 women or so brought me a moveable feast. They showed up on my doorstep with egg dishes and waffles and bacon and sweet rolls, flowers even. They arranged chairs around me, hugged me, talked to me, made me laugh. Two hours later they gathered everything up, washed and put away every dish, left me with a few good books, and out

Economic Democracy, some assembly required

There are many that would have us believe, that we the world are merrily coasting along doing better than has ever been done before. They would have us also believe, that any problems that still confront us can be easily resolved through a combination of new technology and capitalism unlimited. This, in America, is almost always combined with belief that something is special about our country, and that the core spirit of democracy and freedom reside in our nationhood, under God and what they call the free enterprise system. This has become the prevailing national mythology, and it is nowhere more so than in the US, where the talk is constantly of DEMOCRACY, capital letters, we know what it is better than any other people in the world! But actually sad to say to the contrary, there is nowhere more where democracy is less understood than in the US of A. Capitalism is actually the antitheisis of economic democracy, which is the lynchpin of all democracy. Without economic democracy, there is no decision making for the common folk. Instead, there is only dictatorship by the rich, through their corporate control over the government and all economic activity. Yet, lack of economic democracy is considered the natural state of life by the overwhelming majority of common folk in the US. The economic dictatorship of the rich not only distributes the products of production unfairly to the rich and away from the poor, but malforms production itself. Conservatives say that the market rationalizes what capitalists produce, but the contrary is actually true. As an example, few of us in the US actually want the war industry to dominate our economic life, yet the companies that produce the missiles, bombs, planes, tanks, ships, etc. grab control over the government to insure that production is directed to them through government financing from tax monies. Our energy companies do not direct energy production to conserving scarce natural resources as most of the population would like, but rather to the misuse of it, to motivate wars to monopolize energy resources for themselves, and to create legislation that directs national planning to making overuse of energy the only possibility for the mass of people. So we have the energy monopolies combine in pushing warfare along with the war material industries own push in that direction. War becomes the main highway for production in an undemocratic economic system run by the rich, for the rich. All economic activity is perverted so that the rich benefit under capitalism. Thus, we have a medical system that's main purpose is not to provide health, but rather to give out as little real care for as much cost as possible. We have a food production and distribution system whose sole design is to make maximum profits. There is no concern about the public health, or

Is activism a waste of time?

One of the most frustating things about our society to me, is the cynical belief by most everyone in America that activism is a complete waste of time. Meanwhile, people drive mindlessly for hours on end, in essentially circles. They spend hours upon hours watching brain dead programs on TV. They waste much of their off work hours on mindless shopping for mindless products. Yet, if it comes to giving 15 minutes to some form of activism, then that's out! How bizarre is that, to think that independent activism is a wasteful use of energy? It's not that people are totally inactive. They aren't. Many spend hours at work ordered by others down to the most minute details, and are forced to follow orders or lose their paycheck. It seems that when people are off work, if they do donate their time, then they feel it is only valid if, here too, they follow orders inside well defined parameters. For example, many people will come to something like a 'Run Against Cancer' and volunteer a whole day for that. Why? Simply because it is an activity structured much like work, where some authority tells you what to do, and that to do it like a sheep ON THE JOB is good. You simply show up and do the job laid out for you by others. Just like at work paid by the hour. But independent activism is different. It is uncoordinated and there is no central authority much of the time. Often, too much time is spent trying to coordinate where there is no coordination easily found. Authority is missing. It is frustrating to us Americans, since most of our 'work' is spent following orders. Contrary to our national ideology that we are supposedly an indivualistic society, it turns out really, that we are a nation of sheep following orders. So when the herd dog cannot be found, then we American sheep begin to panic. We get angry at the sheep next to us, and blame them for not following orders good enough. That's even when the reality is that the sheep dog that normally drives us is drooling at the mouth and unable to stand up at all, due to being quite rabid. So there are in reality very few people willing to do independent activism, simply because nobody amongst our companions tells us that it is a worthwhile activity. The authorities offer us no pay, and often offer us hostility instead. One of the most common things shouted out against activists if you protest against the warmaking, is "Go Get a Job!". It infuriates other sheep when somebody is actually not doing something inside carefully prescribed parameters, like they would only do. But it is not just those

The emperor has no clothes goddamnit

In Hans Christian Andersen's THE EMPEROR'S NEW CLOTHES, a little boy is finally able to say what no one else would: the emperor had no clothes! The key element which Andersen left out of the fable was this: access! Everywhere you turn today you can find people frothing at the mouth for the chance to say "the president has no clothes!" But no one can hear it. Television reporters can look at you with a cynical smile, even offer their agreement, but the message goes no further than their camera lens. People with access to those in power don't seem up to making a peep. What about their friends? Doesn't anyone chide whoever is above them on the food chain for not stating the obvious? What do White House minions say to their relatives over the holidays? Do they fear something from speaking out about which we don't? Would a danger to their persons or livelihood be relevant? Many of those people are our elected representatives. Wouldn't it be their job to cry out? And what about our cultural heroes? They owe their popularity to the largess of the people. Where are they to speak out? Lance Armstrong can beat seven seasons of Frenchmen, he can beat cancer, but he doesn't dare face off our little emperor in his skivvies? This president has no clothes! Before we get caught up arguing with those who would take the accusation literally, let's say that by no clothes we mean no brain, and he absolutely has no heart. Both of these observations are unimpeachable. We see it everyday on TV. The president is a moron. And we see what he is doing. Heartless. Or do you stand among those in Andersen's fable who would have said "nonsense, little boy, your heart is simply not pure enough for you to be able to see his clothes." Any child reading along with you would put you in your place. Unless he was resigned already that you were deceiving him for some reason, he'd call you a fool. And he'd be right, because this emperor does not have a stitch of anything on! I have nothing against naked loony psychopaths, but it's fairly accepted that they are best kept in institutions where they will not harm the rest of us. Those who would prop a rampaging mentally disabled lunatic into the president's office, declining to comment on his quite visible impairments, instead declaring him "the best man for the job" so they might continue to line their own pockets, those people must be put into prison. This emperor's courtiers: the influence peddlers, opportunists, crooks and stooges are the true danger. They maintain the barricade over which the little boy's voice cannot be heard. But on our side of the barricade, in the free speech zone, we hear him.

COINTELPRO report presented to UN

Report presented to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in September 2001. Authored by Paul Wolf. COINTELPRO: The Untold American Story By Paul Wolf with contributions from Robert Boyle, Bob Brown, Tom Burghardt, Noam Chomsky, Ward Churchill, Kathleen Cleaver, Bruce Ellison, Cynthia McKinney, Nkechi Taifa, Laura Whitehorn, Nicholas Wilson, and Howard Zinn. Presented to U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson at the World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa by the members of the Congressional Black Caucus attending the conference: Donna Christianson, John Conyers, Eddie Bernice Johnson, Barbara Lee, Sheila Jackson Lee, Cynthia McKinney, and Diane Watson, September 1, 2001. Table of Contents Overview Victimization COINTELPRO Techniques Murder and Assassination Agents Provocateurs The Ku Klux Klan The Secret Army Organization Snitch Jacketing The Subversion of the Press Political Prisoners Leonard Peltier Mumia Abu Jamal Geronimo ji Jaga Pratt Dhoruba Bin Wahad Marshall Eddie Conway Justice Hangs in the Balance Appendix: The Legacy of COINTELPRO CISPES The Judi Bari Bombing Bibliography Overview We're here to talk about the FBI and U.S. democracy because here we have this peculiar situation that we live in a democratic country - everybody knows that, everybody says it, it's repeated, it's dinned into our ears a thousand times, you grow up, you pledge allegiance, you salute the flag, you hail democracy, you look at the totalitarian states, you read the history of tyrannies, and here is the beacon light of democracy. And, of course, there's some truth to that. There are things you can do in the United States that you can't do many other places without being put in jail. But the United States is a very complex system. It's very hard to describe because, yes, there are elements of democracy; there are things that you're grateful for, that you're not in front of the death squads in El Salvador. On the other hand, it's not quite a democracy. And one of the things that makes it not quite a democracy is the existence of outfits like the FBI and the CIA. Democracy is based on openness, and the existence of a secret policy, secret lists of dissident citizens, violates the spirit of democracy. Despite its carefully contrived image as the nation's premier crime fighting agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has always functioned primarily as America's political police. This role includes not only the collection of intelligence on the activities of political dissidents and groups, but often times, counterintelligence operations to thwart